As always, elite varsities have maintained their world standing and remain the crème de la crème.
ONLY 0.5 percent of the world’s higher education institutions are represented in the top 100 of the Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings 2015.
|Top of the crop: Baty says the only way to improve in the world reputation rankings is to ensure that scholars across the world recognise a university as an excellent teaching and research institution.
This means “it is a tiny global elite and a highly prestigious group of universities”.
Phil Baty who is editor of Times Higher Education Rankings, says the list has become a widely-referenced global index of university prestige, as reputation is a key driver of success in a highly competitive global higher education market, helping institutions to attract the top student and academic talent as well as investment, research partners and benefactions.
Topping the list this year is Harvard University followed by Cambridge University, Oxford University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley, Princeton University, Yale University, California Institute of Technology and Columbia University.
These institutions have remained among the top varsities for several decades.
Baty says there are no Malaysian universities on this year’s rankings list and the highest ranked Asian institution is the University of Tokyo in 12th place while the National University of Singapore has taken the 24th spot among the Asean varsities.
“The World Reputation Rankings are based on the results of the Academic Reputation Survey carried out by Times Higher Education in partnership with Elsevier.
“The 2015 rankings are based on 9,794 responses from a total of 10,507 responses from 142 countries to the survey distributed in December 2014 and January 2015,” he says in an interview via e-mail.
This ensures the results of the survey are representative both in terms of location and in terms of academic subjects.
The survey available in 15 languages (up from 10 last year) and is distributed based on United Nations data to ensure that it accurately reflects the global distribution of scholars.
Times Higher Education, he adds, does not allow volunteers to take part in the survey and accepts no nominations from institutions or any third party.
The poll asks academics to nominate no more than 10 institutions that in their expert opinion is performing strongly for teaching and research.
To be invited to take part, he says academics have to be published in a leading academic journal and respondents have an average of 15 years working in higher education.
On whether these academics would have heard of Malaysia, Baty says the survey is representative at both local and global level as it is based on UN data. So, it is highly likely that a representative proportion of the academics in question would have heard of Malaysia.
For the 2015 table, the most responses were from the United States (at 15.8% ) followed by China (10.6%) and Japan (7.2%). There were 5.6% responses from the United Kingdom and 5.5% from Russia. Brazil made up 2.4% of responses and South Africa with 1.8%.
“About 20% of respondents hail from engineering and technology, 19% from the social sciences, 17% physical sciences, 13% clinical subjects, 15% life sciences and 16% from the arts and humanities,” he says.
Asked what Malaysian universities can do to be featured in the World Reputation Rankings, Baty says there is no recipe for improving a university’s reputation.
“Ultimately though the only way to improve in the world reputation rankings is to ensure that scholars across the world recognise you as an excellent teaching and research institution,” he says.
On the two key things which universities listed in the rankings have in common, Baty says it is hard to say as the rankings are based on subjective opinion.
“But it is the expert subjective judgment of those who know most about excellent teaching and research — leading academics from all around the world.
“A university’s global academic reputation is vital as it not only influences investments and funding decisions. It also helps a university to develop and nurture its single greatest asset namely its student and academic talent,” he adds.
For more information, log onto www.thewur.com.